Interview by Tonya Kerr
When we choose to profile a Houstonian for this feature, I Am Houston, we ask ourselves “will this person’s insights enrich the lives of our readers?” For almost two decades, Kimberly Davis-Guerra has done just that. Kim, as we know her at work, eats, sleeps and breaths this magazine. She talks to advertisers as dear friends, and she loves each and every one of our readers as family. Celebrating 30 years of Houston Family Magazine, you can count on Kim to help make us the best we can be for our children.
Like thousands of Houstonians, you’re a transplanted Texan. You grew up in Florida- what brought you here, and why did you stay?
I came to Houston from Miami in 1995 to open an office for the magazine I worked for at the time. We had just purchased a new trade publication. I was just supposed to set up the office, get the ball rolling, and return to Miami after 1 year. However, once I moved here, I fell in love with the city, the people I met, the energy, and the spirit of Texas. It was a time in my life when I was ready for a major change, and Houston seemed like a wonderful place to start my new adventure.
When you stepped in and took charge of Houston Family Magazine, what did you envision for the publication, and how did you take it there?
When I first took the reins at Houston Family Magazine, it was 2001, and I was a part-time step-mom every other weekend. Raising a child was a new experience for me, so everything I learned from reading the magazine was a tremendous lesson for me, personally. Professionally, I wanted to see Houston Family Magazine grow to be a household name for all parents interested in making their family’s lives the best they could be.
You were helping to raise your step daughter and had a successful career. What made you want to take the leap to adopting your own child? Was there an “aha” moment?
I had a hysterectomy when I was 27 after fighting with endometriosis for years. So, since I was unable to have a child of my own, I always knew I wanted to adopt. It took years before I finally felt that I could do it and juggle my career. My “aha” moment was when we purchased Houston Family Magazine. I felt like there would never be a more supportive environment, so I took the leap!
HFM readers followed your struggles with the adoption of your son, Bodhi. You wrote about it in the magazine as being a rocky road for you while juggling a career. Bodhi’s 10 now, how have you explained it to him?
It was an extremely rocky road–one that I often thought would not come to a happy ending. That’s why I wrote about the journey– it was very therapeutic! Once the adoption was final, I never wanted Bodhi to be “shocked” by the fact that he was adopted, so we have told him the truth since day one. There are many great books out there that can help you tell your own story, but I am a big believer in being as truthful as possible as soon as they can understand what it all means.
Even a decade later, you’ve said that the letters and support you received from HFM readers and the Houston community sustained you then and through some ups and downs since. Your mom even stepped in to be your right-hand in the business and helping out at home. What does all of that support from HFM friends and family mean to you?
The support and interest from the readers was very surprising. I really didn’t think that many people would become that invested. I was very touched, and it helped out through the rough days. Since then, I have relied on the philosophy that ”it takes a village” to raise a child. I truly could not make it without the support of my family, friends and co-workers! They are the best village in the world!
You’re now a single mom with a son approaching those cringeworthy teenage years, and you’re busier than ever with HFM. What wisdom have you gained and, if you could, what advice would you give your 35-year-old self?
That you can’t do it all. That nothing is ever perfect. Truly let go of the things that you can’t control and just embrace those silly, day-to-day moments that make everything worthwhile. It will be those moments that you cherish in the years to come when your kid is driving you bonkers!
This year, Houston Family Magazine celebrates 30 years of continued success as Houston’s number one parent resource. What’s next?
I’ve been in publishing since 1992. When I started, there barely was an internet. EVERYTHING has changed as far as the delivery of the information, but what hasn’t changed is the NEED for great, relevant information that is easy to access, available to everyone, and trustworthy. I want to continue to provide that information, in every format that is available to the 5 generations of readers that we speak to every day.